RE: When is a character a currency sign?

From: Kenneth Whistler (
Date: Wed Jul 09 2003 - 21:25:43 EDT

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    Asmus wrote:

    > Unicode assigns the general category value, "Sk", or "Symbol, [k]urrency"
    > to all characters whose *primary* function is to act as a currency symbol.

    recte: "Sc", or "Symbol, [c]urrency"

    "Sk" is for "Symbol, modifier", referring basically to spacing accents
                    and other similar diacritics.

    > That excludes all characters that have other, unrelated uses, as long as
    > those are not more specialized than the use as currency sign. That's an
    > uwritten, but workable definition and it has so far not lead to too many
    > issues in deciding whether or not to classify a character as Sk.

    To date, proposals to encode "currency signs" have always been
    clearly indicated as such. Case in point: the recent, successful
    proposal to encode currency symbols for the guaraní and the
    austral signs. So in practice, the issue has never been a
    serious problem for the committee.

    The occasional use of Han characters such as U+5186 in
    formatting of currency amounts is more akin to the use
    of the ideographs for 'year', 'month', and 'day' in formatted
    dates. Such usage is similar to the use of many, many other
    ideographs as numerical classifiers in Chinese (and
    derivatively in Japanese). As others have noted, the
    particular usage of such in expressing currency amounts
    does not make them currency signs in the sense used in
    the Unicode Standard.


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